Question Most neutral/transparent Small Floorstander

skipton01

Active Member
Most neutral/transparent Small Floorstander

I'm considering an upgrade to my current floor standers in the new year as my current setup just feels a little wooly in the lower mids/upper bass region with a lot of music. I currently use trusty old Mission 782se speakers that have served me well and prior to that, I used Mission 773e, so you can see a pattern forming. My speakers before those were venerable NAD 804's, which I still have in the loft!

I'm partnering them with a Pioneer SC-LX88, running in pure direct mode for music, so it's a very quick and clean amp. Source (when in music mode) is direct streaming to the amp using uncompressed flac files from a Synology NAS (couldn't justify a UnitiServe!) over a wired network connection.

My listening room is 5m wide, 4 m deep and 2.5m tall with a solid stone floor and plenty of rugs/soft furnishings to tame reflections.

I need to keep my good lady from complaining that I'm filling the room with large speakers, so they need to be a maximum of 90cm tall (maybe 93 with spikes as an absolute max) and around 20cm wide and 30cm deep. As they'll be in the corners, front porting or sealed would probably be best.

I've considered the Neat SX1/2, the Kudos X2/X3, Spender A5r, A6r and although it's pushing the height to the max, the PMC Twenty.23's too. I've yet to audition anything, but wondered if there was any knowledgeable members who could recommend from experience. Budget is anything up to around £2500 and I'd prefer new or good used from a dealer.

Regards,

Michael
 
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HeadBanger

Well-known Member
If you can stretch another 2cm take a look at the Monitor Audio GX200. Very neutral with a lovely ribbon tweeter.

Also, do you have any iThingies? If so, consider running the Squeezebox LMS (server software) on your Synology and get iPeng with additional in app playback purchase for your iThingy. You can then run your amp as a Squeezebox using iPeng over AirPlay. Really, really nice solution.

HB
 

skipton01

Active Member
Thanks for the suggestion HB - I'd looked at the Gold series MA's but when you add the plinth into the equation, suddenly those slim towers get a footprint of 274 x 370mm, which is far too large to be accommodated. This is what I like about the Spendor and Kudos speakers, they're the same width all the way up.

I do run iPhones and have a couple of Macs too. What benefits are there to running my amp as a Squeezebox? I've purposely steered clear of wireless streaming as it's just too prone to dropouts unfortunately and when I listen to music, I like to sit down and listen. I can use the iPhones as controllers with the fantastic Pioneer iControlAV5 app.

M.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Can you actually put a dollar amount on the speakers? We get a sense of the price from the suggested speakers, but it would be better if you made a clear statement.

The PMC Twenty.22 are about £2000/pr and the PMC Twenty.23 are about £2300/pr. So can we assume that £12500/pr is your limit? Can you go as high as £3000/pr.

Also, since you have an AV Receiver, can we assume you have at least a 5.1 system, and if so, then whatever Front speakers you choose, you will need to buy the matching Center Speaker.

As to speaker suggestions, I would at least consider these -

Focal Aria 936 Speakers (Pair)

Dimensions (HWD): 1150 x 294 x 371mm

Or these -

Focal Aria 926 Speakers (Pair)

Dimensions (HWD): 1035 x 294 x 371mm


These are a bit over your stated size, but I've seen them in person, and they are very understated with a very narrow face. The Focal 936 are rated down to 39hz at -3db, and the Focal 926 are rated down to 45hz at -3db. Depending on how much you like bass for music, these are very clear detailed speaker with bass that is rendered very close to perfection. Not the deepest, but close to the most perfectly rendered.

By limiting the cabinet size, you are in a sense limiting the bass response.

I've only encountered one person who has heard the Dali Opticon, but he was VERY impressed. These would be on the lower end of your price range.

Dali Opticon 6 Floorstanding Speakers - HiFi & Pairs - Speakers

Speaker Dimensions (H x W x D): 1000 x 195 x 330 mm

Dali Opticon 8 Floorstanding Speakers - HiFi & Pairs - Speakers

Speaker Dimensions (H x W x D): 891 x 195 x 310 mm

The more expensive Dali Rubicon 6 would be at the top of your anticipated budget.

Dali Rubicon 6 Speakers (Pair)

Dimensions With Base (HxWxD) [mm]: 990 x 200 x 380

As mentioned by someone else, the Monitor Audio GOLD 200 and the Monitor Audio GOLD 300 should serve you needs nicely, they the GOLD 300 are pushing your budget.

Monitor Audio Gold 200 Speakers

Dimensions (HxWxD) in mm - 995 x 274 x 370

Monitor Audio Gold 300 Speakers

Dimensions (HxWxD) in mm -1105 x 317 x 370

The Spendor A5R and the A6R are very different speakers. But they have the potential to serve your needs.

Spendor A5R Speakers

Dimensions (HxWxD) in mm - 790 x 165 x 250


Spendor A6R Speakers

Dimensions (HxWxD) in mm - 875x192x280

A5R = 34hz in room; A6R = 32hz in room.

If at all possible, I would give the Focal 900 series and the DALI Rubicon series a look and listen.

Also, though I'm not sure this was addressed, the speaker finish can make a big difference. Today Black speakers are very popular, and they can disappear in a Home Cinema, but they can stand out like a sort thumb in a typical lounge.

I prefer woodgrain speakers. Today, lighter colored finishes are nice and you can actually find many speakers in White. Give consideration to this. Find a finish that will blend well with your lounge.

Though it depends on the general nature of your room, in a room with darker warmer colors, consider Cherry or Walnut. If your room is a more modern lighter color, then consider Birch, Maple, White, and similar.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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skipton01

Active Member
Hi Steve, thanks for your considered reply. A lot of food for the ears there!!

As you rightly say, around £2500 is the budget for the purchase and if there's something special which demands an extra £500, then I can find it, but my ears will really have to justify that.

I too prefer woodgrain and lighter oaks and maples would go nicely in the room. Unless a speaker is tapered in the rear to enable it to fit into a corner, then any box over around 200mm wide or 300mm deep (including plinth/spikes), will just not cut it I'm afraid. I can go taller, up to 930mm but I'd really prefer to keep it under the 900mm mark.

For the above reasons, the Dali's and Monitor Audio Gold boxes will not fit the space they need to fit in and there will be no leeway from my darling wife either! The Focals will be out too, purely on size (as I use Focal pro monitors at work and like their forward presentation).

The Spendors are definitely on my shortlist and I'll add the Dali 8's too. I'm still considering the Neat SX1/2 and the PMC 23 and the aforementioned Kudos too.

Yes, I've got a 7.1 setup with my surrounds and centre being catered for by Kef T series, which actually integrate nicely with the current Mission fronts. These were chosen again for their easy integration and slim profile and will not be replaced.

I could use something like the Kef Q500 to integrate with the rest of the surround kit, but the stupid plinths add 50% to the width and depth of the cabinets and mean I couldn't use them.

I'm also concerned about using metal domed tweeters with my Class D amp - for movies, it's fine as you get that impact and punch you need in action movies, however I fear that metal tweeters will be too bright for music when driven by an amp as clean as my Pioneer.

Cheers,
Michael.
 

HeadBanger

Well-known Member
I do run iPhones and have a couple of Macs too. What benefits are there to running my amp as a Squeezebox? I've purposely steered clear of wireless streaming as it's just too prone to dropouts unfortunately and when I listen to music, I like to sit down and listen. I can use the iPhones as controllers with the fantastic Pioneer iControlAV5 app.

M.

If you have your amp playing FLAC files already via Ethernet from your Synology then using iPeng / LMS will also play over Ethernet. Your phone just becomes the remote control to Squeezbox.

It's just a really nice solution which plays local files, music streaming services, Internet radio and podcasts. There is also a great community that keeps things up to date. For example a few of the folk have rewritten the BBC iPlayer plugin to play the new high quality 320kps AAC DASH and HLS streams (both live and on demand).

HB
 

Southern soul

Active Member
best floor standing speakers i have heard within your budget are the PMC 23's, great bass from such a small speaker, clear vocals and superb soundstage.

IMO a bit overpriced new, might be worth looking secondhand to save a stack of cash....
 

skipton01

Active Member
Thanks for the replies so far - much appreciated. I don't particularly understand about Squeezebox or its merits, but may look into it - I'm quite happy at the moment streaming music from the NAS to my amp using the iPhone as a remote.

As to the PMC Twenty.23's, I see there's a lot of love for them at the moment, and as a BBC-affiliated sound engineer myself, I admire where the founders of the company have come from. I'll definitely have them on my audition list - being front-ported, they should even work well near the room boundaries too. Agreed, saving a good £500+ chunk of cash would be nice, but if they're as good as they're supposed to be, who'd be selling them??

I've been doing some more (fruitless) digging today to see if there's any more floor standers I might have missed and there's really not a lot of choice in small, sub-90cm tall or less than 30cm deep boxes out there! However, I've come across the new Quad S-series and also the older 23L Classic series which would fit the bill.

However, although I know Quad's electronics are pretty damn good, I'm a touch concerned that they're now a part of IAG, who have several other brands which used to be good, but are now just trading on their past reputations (Mission springs to mind!).

Does anyone have any experience of the 23L or 22L Classics? I do like their looks (deep gloss wood veneer is a lovely thing) and possibly their sounds could charm too.
 

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